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Monday evening I attended the memorial service for the 17 year old grandson of my office manager of 25 years. As I understand it his father, returning from a trip, had found his lifeless body on a couch at home after he apparently used heroin.

I never met him myself, but I heard about his birth and milestones in his life, especially when his mother died of complications of alcoholism. Even with that tragedy he enjoyed love and excellent parenting, much of it provided by his grandmother with whom he lived for many years. The adults in his family apparently knew nothing of his drug use. Indeed it seems possible that he may not have used the drug before this. He did well in school until the end.

When you see the outpouring of love and respect from friends and family you cannot write such a loss off as the expected consequence of drug abuse. But you do naturally start thinking of who to blame, and it neither brings him back nor prevents the same from happening again and again.

We can seek changes that might minimize harm to innocent victims like this young man. I do not pretend to know the answers, but tragedies like this prove that the current prohibition only increases harm to those who least deserve it. We must abandon the "war on drugs" which has become a war on drug users. This war assures only that unregulated suppliers will provide drugs like heroin with unpredictable impurity and dose, needlessly endangering those who use them.

Demand an end to irrational drug laws, and support organizations like SAMA and StoptheDrugWar.org.

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